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Deloitte report reveals: Swiss luxury shoppers spend less than their European peers

  • Swiss luxury shoppers are less likely (33%) to spend large amounts (€1,000+) on Christmas gifts compared to their European peers (62%).
  • Swiss luxury shoppers are less interested in buying new brands and they are more likely wanting to support their local economy.
  • In-store purchases favoured more than online in Switzerland.

One third of European luxury shoppers plan to spend more than €2,000 on gifts during the festive period, according to the inaugural Luxury Consumption Among European High Earners 2014 report published by Deloitte. Swiss luxury shoppers tend to spend less money than their European counterparts, with only one third (33%) spending more than €1,000+, compared to 62% in Europe.

The European average majority (67%) of luxury shoppers still prefer to buy in-store, even if they do their initial research online. In-store only and in-store purchasing after having browsed on-line are very popular in Switzerland, with over 80% of consumers stating such as their shopping habit. Also, only 18% of Swiss luxury shoppers plan to spend more than €1,000 on end of year festivity treats on themselves, compared to 51% in average in European.

The survey of high income earners living in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom was conducted to explore luxury goods shopping behaviour and general attitudes, with a focus on the end of year festive period.1

Karine Szegedi, Head of Fashion and Luxury at Deloitte in Switzerland, said: “The festive season is the most important time of year for the fashion and luxury industry, particularly as the Eurozone economy continues to remain subdued. Our analysis of the luxury shopping habits of high earners indicates a much needed positive outlook for Europe’s luxury consumer market. The shopping budget luxury consumers estimate they will spend on themselves as well as on others will collectively have a positive impact on the sector. In Switzerland, year-end luxury purchases are planned to remain at a similar level to last year, as per the study’s result. 25% of the luxury consumers have indicated that they make their purchases within the last two weeks of the year, which indicates a high volume of sales to come within the next days.”

1About the Luxury Consumption Among European High Earners 2014 report
1’228 participants with a yearly household income (before tax) of at least £100k+/ €100k+/ CHF150k+ participated in the survey. Respondents were approximately equally split between male/female, and included around 200 people per country. Fieldwork was conducted online in November 2014.

Additional key findings:

In-store shopping still preferred – In-store-only purchases are particularly popular in Switzerland (51%) and Italy (55%). Customer service and the ability to manually handle items are the main reasons for in-store purchases, with single brand stores having an edge in terms of staff knowledge and service. However, in Switzerland, 66% cite convenience as a main benefit of online shopping, compared to a 51% European average.

Most expensive items – Over 25% of European respondents plan to buy items priced at €5,000 or more during the festive period. The top luxury items purchased are by order of preference: travel and hotels (preferred by 20% of the respondents), clothes, gadgets/technology and jewellery. In terms of highest value items bought, watches and jewellery stand out with a median spend of €3,500 and €2,470 respectively. Only the travel and hotel spend is higher with a median of €5,600.

High social media usage – In Switzerland, online purchasing for the end of the year is below the European average: 22% make a majority of their purchases online in Europe, while the number in Switzerland is merely 14%, and the web (including social media) is generally used less even for browsing. In Europe, 85% of respondents use social media; with Facebook (60%), LinkedIn (40%) and YouTube (39%) being the most popular platforms. While 15% of respondents use social media as a source to find information about luxury products, only 4% currently use social media to make end of year purchases during the festive period. Interestingly, the age range of social media users was spread, from the highest users being those under 35 years (96%) and the lowest under over 55 years (77%). 

Quality is key – The Swiss are more likely to look for value for money (45%) rather than design or brand reputation (only 8% in Switzerland, compared to 25% in Europe) and heritage.

Support of local economy – 51% of the high earners in Switzerland that participated in the survey mentioned that that they prefer to buy local brands to support their local economy, which is 8 points above the European average, demonstrating the strong attachment towards their country.

About Deloitte in Switzerland

Deloitte is a leading accounting and consulting company in Switzerland and provides industry-specific services in the areas of audit, tax, consulting and corporate finance. With approximately 1,300 employees at six locations in Basel, Berne, Geneva, Lausanne, Lugano and Zurich (headquarters), Deloitte serves companies and institutions of all legal forms and sizes in all industry sectors. Deloitte AG is a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP, the UK member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL). DTTL member firms comprise of approximately 210,000 employees in more than 150 countries around the world.

Zurich, 11 December 2014

Note to editors

In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte AG, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP, which is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries are leading business advisers, providing audit, tax, consulting and corporate finance services through more than 14 000 exceptional people across the UK and Switzerland. Known as an employer of choice for innovative human resources programmes, it is dedicated to helping its clients and people excel.

Deloitte AG is an auditor firm recognised and supervised by the Federal Audit Oversight Authority (FAOA) and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.  

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